We live in a grind culture. Simply put, we’re willing to put ourselves through hell if it means we’ll see even the slightest boost to our success. In our minds as professionals, the ends always justify the means. However, in my experience, the temporary successes that come through grinding away at our careers over the very real and lasting threads of our personal lives – namely our physical and mental health – leads to disaster in the end. Personal wellbeing needs be a priority for the sake of your career; in fact, taking care of yourself yields far greater success and satisfaction than grinding away endlessly!
Career vs. Personal Life
While you might be thinking, “Shouldn’t my career come before my personal life if I have any hope of succeeding?”; the short answer, full stop, is no. Boundaries and limits are crucial in our professional lives, of course, but they shouldn’t be enforced at our personal expense. The last thing you should be putting a limit on is your own wellbeing. If you operate at partial capacity, how do you expect yourself to run at full throttle?
Don’t make the mistake of overidentifying with your career and falling into the thought trap where you in effect are your job. When we fall into the habit of putting ourselves on the backburner and overexerting ourselves in the interest of success, our victories are soured by the resentments that naturally build in the face of exhaustion and our wins are empty as a result. In efforts to bring the best energy to your work and preempt the mistakes and downfalls that can crop up when you’re tired and depleted, make your personal wellbeing your number one professional priority.
Here comes the real question – how are you going to do it?
Creating a Work-Life Balance
“Work-life balance” has been in our atmosphere for decades, but it seems like we’ve never truly mastered it in the grand scheme of things. This balance is the key to wellbeing and it comes with boundaries, smart time management, and delegation. Avoid overscheduling yourself and learn the vital skill of saying “no” when you need to. Assign tasks that don’t need your full attention or engagement to team members you trust. Detach yourself from work in whatever ways you’re able to. Even if you work from home, designate special places, times, and even clothing for work alone and for you alone. Most importantly, enrich yourself in the entirely personal realms of your life – in your family and friends, in art and in leisure, and in both physical and mental health.
Being a professional can be challenging, time-consuming, and demanding even as it is immensely fulfilling and purposeful for you and the world you wish to create. Making the best of it and maximizing your potential as a professional means being your best self where you are closest to the ground before you take off for the mountaintop. If you’re struggling to make personal wellbeing a professional priority, don’t be afraid to shoot me an email and ask for a helping hand.